To be a great freelancer, it’s not enough to just be a great designer, technologist, writer, etc. You also need to be a master negotiator!Over the next several weeks, we’ll be releasing a series of posts about negotiation and why many freelancers leave money on the table. Today, we’re talking about “the poker face.” The phrase is useful in talking about negotiations — but remember that contracts are anything but a game.Never say “um.”If the client asks you how much something is going to cost, or sends you a contract full of terms you don’t want to accept, this is not the time to be shy or hem and haw about it.Before you enter into negotiations, you should know:What terms you won’t negotiate onWhat terms would be nice, and you’d like to push onWhat terms would be nice, but you’re willing to give upThe cost of the project, in your time and opportunity costThe value of the project to the client, and based on this value and your cost, what you’d like to charge the clientThe price you won’t negotiate below, if you plan on negotiating on price at allThis means you need to sit down and really think this through before you enter the room or get on the telephone with your client. Just spending these few minutes to prepare and set down in writing your thoughts can make you more confident during your discussion.Leave emotions at the doorWhen you enter into discussions about the terms of a contract or the price, now is not the time to be:NervousDesperate for the gigEmbarrassed about your “high rate” (note the quotes; you’re probably already undercharging)Not confident in your ability to do the jobIf you feel any of these things, you need to sit down before going into a negotiation and really think these through. Any of these — with the exception of the first — you need to leave outside the door. Nervousness you may bring with you, you just shouldn’t show it.Give yourself a pep talkYou might think this is cheesy — and yeah, it is. But it works. Once you become a veteran freelancer, this will be irrelevant, but the first few times it’s essential.Before you enter into tricky bits with a client, just run through in your head or on paper exactly why you deserve the gig, why you deserve the money you’re asking for, and why you’re the best person for this gig. Flex your biceps in the mirror (kidding). How should a client be convinced of your greatness if you’re not?How to look confident if you’re still nervousBody language: Hold your head up high, make eye contact, don’t sit on the edge of your seat as if you’re in a job interview, don’t slouch, don’t give a sweaty palmed, flimsy handshake.Voice: Speak loudly, clearly, and slowly. Don’t be afraid to laugh and smile.Ask questions and listen: Remember that now is your time to make sure the client is a good fit for you, too. Let the client talk about what this project means and how important it is for the company. Not being afraid to ask questions and listening and asking follow-ups are all signs of confidence.Be honest: The most important tip of all. Some people think that having a “poker face” means that you’re lying. Think of it instead as showing your best business face, which may be different from your personality with your family, but is also a genuine part of who you are as a freelancer. If you don’t know something, don’t make it up, but also don’t say “Er…not sure.” Say, “Let me get back to you tomorrow about that. I’m going to do a little research/thinking/talking with X person and I want to give you a clear answer.”Compliment your client: But not in a creepy personal way. If you genuinely like work or projects the client has done in the past, compliment them. (Just beware not to pigeonhole yourself too much in case the person you’re talking to hated that project.)Don’t take the contract at face valueIf a client is the sending over a contract, read it carefully. It happens very often that a client will send over:An old contract they haven’t read, possibly that includes such terms as that you’ll send them the final deliverable on a floppy diskA contract their coworker drew up for another gig that they’ve barely read or don’t understandA contract drawn up by their lawyers that contains what is essentially a wish-list for the client (the lawyer was hired by them to protect them, after all), but they are both used to and willing to negotiate on.Note: even if your client has lawyers involved, it does not mean that you have no power to negotiate better terms! Get informed about contracts and stand your ground. Clients who are used to working with freelancers expect push-back.It is not about you vs. themUnlike poker, this is not a competition. This is not a game with a winner and a loser. The goal of negotiating is to reach mutually agreeable terms and leave you with the beginning of a great client-freelancer relationship.The process of negotiation makes the contract and the price fair for both parties. This is not like negotiating in the movies, will screaming lawyers watching out for the bottom line. (And if it is, run away fast.) This is about being clear, setting reasonable expectations, and listening.The negotiation process and the entire process of setting up a contract protects both you and your client. You’re both working in service of the project, and getting all the details worked out fairly in the beginning means your whole relationship can run more smoothly.Freelancers, what are your best negotiating tips?
zoom Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC Berhad), a shipping arm of Petronas, has seen an increase of 12.3 percent in its net profit for the 2015 full year financials when compared to 2014.The group reported a net profit of MYR 2.4 billion, an increase from the net profit of MYR 2.2 billion in 2014.However, MISC Berhad’s net profit for the fourth quarter of 2015 decreased to MYR 752,389 (USD 182,705), from MYR 991,609 (USD 240,796 million) recorded in the fourth quarter of 2014.Group operating profit was at MYR 1.08 billion (USD 262.4 million) in the fourth quarter of 2015, a 131.1 percent jump from MYR 468.9 million (USD 113.6 million) in the corresponding quarter of 2014.The company attributed the increase mainly to improved freight rates in the petroleum business, as well as to the compensation for early termination of term charter contracts for two vessels in LNG business.MISC Berhad reached a revenue of MYR 3.3 billion, a 44.8 percent increase from the MYR 2.2 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.This rise was mainly attributed to finance lease income contribution of an asset under construction in offshore business and higher revenue from ongoing projects in heavy engineering in the quarter.However, a smaller fleet of operating vessels and lower earning days caused declines in chemical and LNG businesses’ revenue, respectively.Full year revenue reached MYR 10.9 billion, representing a 17.3 percent increase compared to the MYR 9.2 billion revenue in 2014, while group operating profit for the 2015 full year was at MYR 2.8 billion, a 54.1 percent rise compared to the profit of MYR 1.8 billion reported a year earlier.
zoom Product tanker shipping company d’Amico International Shipping (DIS) is in talks to dispose of three more tankers, the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Carlos Balestra di Mottola, said in the shipowner’s financial report for the first quarter of the year.The announcement comes following the disposal of two medium range product tankers to Monaco-based ship management firm Sea World Management for USD 13.5 million each, earlier this year.“Three further vessels are currently under sale negotiations and their disposal is expected to generate net cash in excess of USD 15 million during the current year,” Balestra di Mottola said.“These deals together with the share capital increase we recently announced will considerably strengthen our balance sheet and provide the required resources for our company to complete its long-term investment plan.”For the first quarter of 2017, the company booked a net profit of USD 1.8 million, down from USD 7.2 million in Q1 of 2016. DIS said that the variance compared to the previous year is almost entirely due to the higher spot rates in the first three months of 2016.However, d’Amico’s EBITDA reached USD 16.5 million, which the company claims is USD 1.7 million higher than the EBITDA achieved in the previous six months.The positive result was ascribed to an improving product tanker market, which led DIS to increase its daily spot average by over 32% (or USD 3,200/day) at USD 13,363 relative to the average of the second half of last year.“At the same time, DIS’ good level of time-charter coverage (41% at USD 15,908/day), allowed us to achieve quite of a satisfactory total daily TCE average of USD 14,412 in the quarter,” Marco Fiori, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, noted.“We maintain our positive outlook on the product tanker market and on its very solid fundamentals,” he added, referring to the currently low MR orderbook and expected increase of the world’s oil product demand in the next few years, outpacing supply growth.” In this context, as I have been saying in the past I think our company is very well positioned to benefit from the expected market recovery.”DIS is scheduled to take delivery of six LR1s between Q4’17 and Q4’18, for which the remaining CAPEX amounts to USD 197.3 million.However, almost 70 percent of the total CAPEX will be financed with a bank debt DIS said it had already secured, totaling in USD 136.5 million.
The American Red Cross and NBCUniversal have announced that Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together, a live, one-hour benefit telethon, generated nearly $23 million in support of victims impacted by Hurricane Sandy.A record number of individual donations by phone, text and online were accepted by the American Red Cross during the 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. time period beginning on Friday, November 2, 2012. The volume of website and phone traffic exceeded previous benefit telethons in support of the American Red Cross over the last five years.“We are incredibly grateful and humbled by this outpouring of support for those who are suffering as a result of Superstorm Sandy,” said American Red Cross Chief Marketing Officer Peggy Dyer. “Our preliminary results of nearly $23 million raised are an extraordinary example of how the American people pull together in times of disaster. Their generous donations will go directly to those in need, and we urge the public to continue to give. We also thank the dedicated and talented team at NBCUniversal for the millions of people they have helped through this telethon.”Hosted by NBC “Today” anchor Matt Lauer, the live telethon featured performances by Christina Aguilera (NBC’s “The Voice”), Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, Joe Perry, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Sting and Steven Tyler as well as appearances by Kevin Bacon, Jimmy Fallon (NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon”), Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Jon Stewart and NBC News’ Brian Williams.Performances included: Jimmy Fallon with Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen on vocals and Billy Joel on piano for a rendition of “Under the Boardwalk;” Christina Aguilera of “Beautiful;” Jon Bon Jovi of a medley of “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” and “Living on a Prayer;” Billy Joel of “Miami 2017;” Mary J. Blige of “Living Proof;” Sting of “Message in a Bottle;” Steven Tyler and Joe Perry of “Dream On;” Bruce Springsteen of “Land of Hope and Dreams.”“Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together” will be available online through the weekend across NBCUniversal digital properties including NBC.com, g4tv.com and nbcnews.com as well as on Xfinity.com/tv and Hulu. Comcast cable markets are also offering the telethon on Xfinity On Demand throughout the weekend. The telethon is also available on demand from over 40 cable, satellite and telco operators including AT&T, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS, among others.The benefit telethon was broadcast Friday, November 2, 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET live from the New York studios of NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza across the NBCUniversal networks including: NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, G4, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network, Style, Syfy and USA as well as HBO, Discovery’s Fit & Health and Velocity networks, The Weather Channel and Wealth TV. The NBC Owned and some affiliate television stations live-streamed the telethon on their websites.Comcast’s xfinity.com/TV, Hulu and more than 100 Gannett-owned websites, including usatoday.com, live streamed the telethon, along with multiple NBCUniversal digital properties, including: NBC.com, Fandango, iVillage, g4tv.com, nbcnews.com and weather.com.Clear Channel radio stations, along with a number of local radio stations from across the Tri-State area, simulcast coverage of the event.The American Red Cross response to Sandy is very large and will be very costly, affecting a massive area spanning much of the eastern half of the country. Financial donations help the American Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-HELPNOW or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.Source:Red Cross
APTN National NewsFront line advocates and family members of Aboriginal women who have been victims of violence say they are disgusted with the Conservative’s $10 million strategy to deal with the hundreds of murdered and missing women cases across the country.APTN National News reporter Tina House has this story.
A time of crises is also a time of challenge and “opportunities for change,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the graduating class of the United Nations International School (UNIS) today.“You will not be surprised to hear me say that you graduate at a time of great global uncertainty. But perhaps it would surprise you to know that I also consider this as exciting a time as I can remember,” Mr. Ban told the 122 high school graduates from 53 nations.“The crises we face – food, fuel, finance and flu – are devastating indeed,” he said. “But they also create opportunities for change.”The Secretary-General told the graduates they have “tremendous potential” in playing a key role in making these changes happen.Citing challenges in world finance, climate change and the flu epidemic, he stressed that “no nation can deal with them alone.”Global leadership and powerful partnerships are demanded to tackle such obstacles, Mr. Ban said.“That is why I urge you to join us … and to enlist in the new multilateralism, at the grass-roots,” he said, urging the graduates to join such organizations as the Peace Corps, Red Cross, Red Crescent, Human Rights Watch or any number of emerging non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the developing world.“The point is to be a part of something larger, larger than yourself.” The Secretary-General said. “The United Nations needs you. The world needs you.”The graduating class, which speaks 34 languages as their mother tongues, will attend more than 80 universities in 12 countries and 18 states in the United States, according to UNIS. 28 May 2009A time of crises is also a time of challenge and “opportunities for change,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the graduating class of the United Nations International School (UNIS) today.
In a message delivered to the Liberian Peace Conference in Accra by Abou Moussa, his Representative in Liberia, the Secretary-General stressed that a ceasefire would not only alleviate the suffering of the people but would create a favourable environment for negotiating a solution to the country’s multiple challenges. “Indeed,” he said, “the events of recent years have demonstrated the high cost and utter futility of the military option.” The Secretary-General stressed that lasting peace could not be imposed from the outside and that “Liberian leaders must demonstrate a genuine and concrete readiness to restore peace and stability to their country. It is they who must uphold this responsibility, make the compromises and difficult choices needed for peace, and respond to the overwhelming pleas of the Liberian people for peace. I hope they will take full advantage of the window of opportunity offered by this gathering.” The Presidents of Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Liberia also addressed the gathering, which was sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Presidents Laurent Gbagbo of Côte d’Ivoire and Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone were also present. The gathering also included ECOWAS Executive Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the International Contact Group on Liberia, and representatives of Liberian political parties, civil society organizations and the rebel movement Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). Outlining the costs of the Liberian conflict to the nation and the sub-region, the ECOWAS Chairman, President John Agyekum Kufuor of Ghana, said, “It is imperative that the conflict must be stopped and peace restored.” Noting that “no one can bring peace to Liberia but the Liberian people themselves,” he appealed to Liberian President Charles Taylor and leaders of the various parties “to look resolutely ahead into the future…[and] override their individual and selfish desires and ambitions.” In his address, President Taylor offered to “remove himself from the process that would continue to perpetuate this crisis…[as] it has become apparent that some people believe that President Taylor is the problem.” It is important for a process to be put into place, he said, that would permit a smooth transition from war to peace. The talks will shift tomorrow to Akosombo, a town approximately 100 kilometres from Accra, and are expected to last for at least two weeks.
Because Schröder’s passes have generally left him with nothing to do but lay the ball in, particularly against lesser opponents such as the Sixers, Howard’s average time of possession per touch is down nearly 16 percent from last season and has decreased more than 27 percent from two seasons ago. Additionally, his dribbles per touch are down 10 percent and 27 percent, respectively, from last year and two years ago, according to SportVU.Can it last?Yet for all that, it’s fair to wonder how much of Atlanta’s hot start is sustainable.Schröder, in his first year as a starter, probably won’t finish this season with a higher three-point mark (42.9 percent so far) than his overall field-goal percentage last year (42.1 percent). Howard left Tuesday night’s win with a thigh bruise, and the injury will be a problem if it persists. The team is already thin in spots, including at center, since backup big man Tiago Splitter is still recovering from a February hip surgery. And there’s also the matter of the team’s soft schedule (fifth-easiest in the NBA) to this point: The Hawks are the only team to have beaten the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers, but as of Wednesday afternoon, five of their eight wins had come against Philadelphia, Washington and Miami, the Eastern Conference’s three worst teams.Still, Atlanta — outscoring opponents by more than 10 points per 100 possessions — has generally dominated its competition. The Hawks are limiting opposing offenses to just over 95 points per 100 plays, second-best in the NBA, trailing only the Clippers.The defense, which has been active and has deflected more passes than any Eastern Conference team, appears to be staying home a bit more often than in years past, to allow Howard to serve as a rim protector as opposed to chasing guards all over the court. That has paid dividends: They’re limiting opponents to 52.8 percent shooting from inside five feet, outpacing last year’s impressive 55.5 percent mark.Even with all this in mind, and Howard playing well, the same question as before still faces this team: Does the team — however good it might be — realistically have enough scoring, or enough stoppers, to get the best of LeBron James and the Cavaliers?Probably not. But by changing their look, and playing more inside-out than they have in years past, there might be a little more intrigue this time around, even if the end result turns out to be the same.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 20141.840.62 20151.590.50 Dwight Howard is making faster decisions For years, the Atlanta Hawks have had two guiding philosophies. Under coach Mike Budenholzer, the club has prioritized moving the ball in an uptempo offense, fashioning every player into a jump-shooting threat. On defense, Atlanta thrived thanks to the unusual frontcourt mobility of Paul Millsap and Al Horford. While neither was a traditional rim protector, the team used an array of hedges and switches to slow down pick-and-rolls and limit drives to the basket.With that in mind, things were bound to get interesting one way or another this season. Horford bolted for the Celtics over the summer, taking with him the unique passing and mobility he provides at the center position. He was replaced by Dwight Howard, who is a totally different player from a stylistic standpoint even if he’s a surefire Hall of Famer. The Hawks, who for years lived on ball movement and swiftness, seem to be replacing those virtues with brute strength.The swap — along with promoting point guard Dennis Schröder to a starting role after dealing away former All-Star Jeff Teague — has brought about some encouraging signs for the 8-2 Hawks, who probably needed a bit of a shake-up despite their relative success in recent years. Howard’s replacing Horford doesn’t necessarily make the Hawks more of a contender, but the move at least allows them to try a different look, both offensively and defensively, in hopes of finding a way forward.Howard on the boardsThe clearest difference from last season is the team’s overnight transformation into an offensive-rebounding powerhouse.The Hawks from previous years — much like the Spurs model that Budenholzer borrowed from his time as an assistant in San Antonio — didn’t concern themselves with offensive rebounding, instead preferring to space the court and simply retreat back on defense following a miss.As such, Atlanta ranked dead last in offensive-rebound rate in 2015. This year’s team, by contrast, is tied for the NBA’s fourth-best offensive-rebounding rate. The Hawks, who had ranked in the NBA’s bottom five in second-chance points in each of the previous three seasons, are currently ninth in second-chance points per game. Howard has everything to do with that. His personal numbers look good — he’s averaging 14.8 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, with eight double-doubles in 10 games — but his effect on Atlanta’s overall numbers appear to be even better. The club’s 31.1 percent offensive-rebound percentage with him on the court this season would be tied for the highest in the league, alongside the Chicago Bulls. The team’s offensive-rebound rate falls to a below-league average rate of 22.2 percent when Howard is on the sideline.Between those easy putbacks, and Howard’s pick-and-roll feeds from Schröder, Atlanta is shooting nearly 67 percent at the rim — up from just over 60 percent last year — second only to the Golden State Warriors so far. (Note the proximity that NBA.com uses for its at-the-rim stats differs slightly from the one the site uses in its shot charts, embedded below, but the trend holds true in both.) Howard, taking more than 80 percent of his shots from there (and also connecting on about 67 percent of those attempts), is fundamentally changing the way the team’s shot chart looks in the process.Howard on the blockBefore Tuesday’s quad injury, Howard was enjoying a bit of a renaissance after three frustrating seasons in Houston, where he felt underutilized and in the shadow of James Harden. Aside from cleaning the glass for easy putbacks, he was jelling with Schröder in pick-and-roll scenarios, regularly catching lobs from his new point guard, who appears to be making a concerted effort to keep him involved. And defenses, as much as they’d like to flood the paint to prevent Howard from getting easy baskets, have been reluctant to help too much in that part of the floor. Usual suspects such as sharpshooter Kyle Korver, along with Kent Bazemore and Millsap, are all threats to connect from outside if left open as a result of overhelping.With the Rockets, Howard’s offensive involvement wavered from time to time. Consider the fact that Howard received 6.7 passes per game from Harden during his first year there, before getting just 2.2 passes from him in 2014 and 4.5 passes from the Rockets star in 2015. Schröder, in Atlanta’s equal-opportunity system, is finding Howard more than eight times a night, according to SportVU tracking.Perhaps because of those frequent opportunities — and the fact that he’s no longer wondering if or when he’ll touch the ball, the way he sometimes did in Houston — Howard’s possessing the rock for shorter amounts of time as opposed to slowing his team’s offense to back down an opponent and force up an ugly hook shot, merely to create a scoring chance for himself. YEARSECONDS PER TOUCHDRIBBLES PER TOUCH 20131.820.70 Source: nba.com 20161.390.45
IN SPORT, your edge is everything. Armed with the right material, the human body can do amazing things. With the eyes of the world fixed firmly on The World Cup, science is being used to add magic to the beautiful game. Stadia, pitches, football boots, jerseys and the football itself, have, since the World Cup tournament began in 1930 been drastically improved, all because of science.As we marvel at the steady strides of the athletes in the Olympics, the perfect swing of the golfers in the Irish Open, the pace of the Tour de France and indeed the solos of GAA Championship season, it is worth bearing in mind the science that makes it all happen.Simple physics make swings and strikes better, prevents injuries and improves running styles. Maths and statistics helps coaches and analysts to develop game plans and identify weaknesses and strengths in their opponents’ games. Materials science ensures that jerseys are more breathable, that boots and socks are comfortable and friction proof, that the impact of the pitch doesn’t cause injury and that the ball – whatever the sport – is lightweight, yet sturdy. When something goes wrong, tissue engineering reduces the need for surgery such as knee or hip replacements. So while accidents may be part of an athlete’s life, they won’t stop it.The year 1855 saw science revolutionise football when Charles Goodyear designed and built the first vulcanised rubber footballs. Seven years later, H.J. Lindon developed one of the first inflatable rubber bladders for balls. This meant the ball, covered in hand stitched leather could remain hard, oval and ultimately, more kickable than its predecessor which had pigs’ bladder inserts.DisagreementFewer than 100 years later, in the first World Cup final between Argentina and Uruguay in 1930, a leather, hand stitched football was used with grids that were woven together. Indeed the importance of the construction of the ball may have played a role in the outcome of the game with both sides disagreeing over which ball to use. Argentina used their chosen ball in the first half, with Uruguay switching to their ball in the second. Ultimately Uruguay went on to win 4-2, demonstrating that while some may think them immaterial, materials matter!In the intervening decades, materials science developments have led to what is considered the perfect football. This is the first World Cup where there has been outright agreement on the football. This year, the Adidas Brazuca has six panels and a rougher surface than previous versions. The deep and long seams will create one of the most advanced footballs yet used in a World Cup. NASA scientists have even tested the Brazuca in a wind chamber to determine its aerodynamic design.While we may not think it at the moment, there is more to sport than football! Materials science has a key role to play in golf, with the distinction between graphite and titanium clubs, a sticking point for many golfers. Scientific research and the development of new materials have enabled golf balls to go farther than ever before. Scientists are currently researching ways to prolong the life of balls after they are exposed to moisture.When the Giro d’Italia came to Ireland, it was a great sporting spectacle and one could clearly see that cycling has undergone immense changes since its early days. As science has opened our understanding of aerodynamics, it has driven changes in bicycle composition and design, the clothing worn by the cyclist, and even the positioning of the rider on the bicycle.Sports stadiaThe design of sports stadia is also dependent on science. For example, at AMBER the materials science institute based at Trinity College Dublin, where I carry out research, our industry partner Mergon constructed the seats of the Maracana. They looked at manipulating and tweaking the properties of the plastics to ensure they were water, heat and UV proof.It’s not just the equipment that science influences. Injury prevention, swimming, cycling and running styles and optimum fitness are dependent on science. Everything from specified nutrition plans, to physiotherapy, stride and stroke technique depend on an in-depth understanding of kinesiology and biomechanics.When science and sport work together, a sea of possibilities opens before us. Science is helping athletes break new records and careful design of materials enhances performance and protection. The future of science in sport provides us with limitless possibilities and that is what makes the whole area of performance sport so exciting and intriguing.Prof Stefano Sanvito is Principal Investigator and Acting Director at AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin. He is also professor of Condensed Matter Theory in the School of Physics, Trinity. AMBER has organised a fun evening of Science and Sport on July 8th at Trinity. This free event will involve a panel discussion with former Olympian Catherina McKiernan, sports analyst and writer Andy McGeady, Professors Shane Bergin and Conor Buckley, TCD. See more at info here.
Ever wonder what your favorite movie scenes would look like if they were subjected to the glowing neon grandeur of Tron? Over at Ain’t it Cool News, there’s a contest where they are tasking video submitters to do exactly that by “Tronitizing” scenes.This particular video example from the AICN Butt-Numb-A-Thon challenge comes from the classic confrontation scene in the cult sci-fi horror film, Aliens. It is the final battle where Ripley (played by Sigourney Weaver) confronts the alien queen in a robotic power loader. And by the looks of if it, the creator of the video Benni Diez, jazzed-up the memorable cinematic scene quite nicely with a Tron-esque twist with glowing PCB accents and Tron: Legacy music.AdChoices广告Vimeo, via Devour
When Apple increased the iPhone display size to 4-inches for the iPhone 5, it did so without changing the overall width of the handset. The reasoning behind that, according to Apple, was to allow the phone to remain easy to hold in one hand. The side effect of that decision was the display switched to being 16:9 and the phone got taller.Even with the move from a 3.5-inch to a 4-inch screen, the iPhone 5 can look tiny next to the latest generations of Android smartphones. So it may not come as a surprise to find Apple is thought to be testing larger display sizes for future iPhones.Exactly how big these displays are is unknown, but with Apple’s main rivals sporting 4.7 to 5-inch displays, it seems likely a 5-inch iPhone is under consideration. However, it’s not just the iPhone Apple is looking to make larger. The iPad is also potentially getting a bigger display.Apparently a display slightly under 13-inches in size has been shipped to Apple for use inside an experimental new tablet. It seems unlikely this would be anything other than another iPad if it ever made it to market.Considering a larger iPhone makes sense due to smartphones including the Galaxy S4 and HTC One doing so well, but why consider a larger iPad? It could be a response to the positive reception Sony’s 13.3-inch digital paper prototype is receiving. Apple knows how important (read: lucrative) the student and educational markets can be. A larger tablet to support that market may turn out to be a positive move.It seems unlikely these experimental devices would come to market anytime soon. If Apple does decide to release a 5-inch iPhone, then it would most likely arrive next year as part of the iPhone 6 line-up. The same is true of a 13-inch iPad. The 5th generation iPad is expected later this year with the same 9.7-inch size, while being a thinner tablet. A larger version therefore won’t appear until the 6th generation refresh late next year.
SPOKANE — Three Republican U.S. House members are criticizing Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and other lawmakers for opposing their legislation that would prevent the breaching of four dams on the Snake River to restore endangered salmon runs.The three Republicans from the state of Washington support a bipartisan bill that seeks to maintain existing dam operations until at least 2022.Murray and two Democratic House members from the Seattle area are pushing an environmental study to examine alternatives for salmon recovery, including breaching one or more of the dams to aid fish migration to and from the Pacific Ocean.“It’s unthinkable that Seattle Democrats are putting politics over science when it comes to improving fish recovery efforts,” Reps. Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler said in a release this week. “Millions of dollars have been spent studying these dams and improvements have been made to improve fish survival rates.”The skirmish is the latest in a decades-long battle that pits environmentalists against users of the Columbia-Snake river system.Fish advocates blame the four dams, built in the 1960s and 1970s, with decimating iconic salmon runs in the river system. But supporters of the dams point to the benefits of hydropower and navigation provided by the dams, and say fish ladders and other methods of transporting salmon past the dams are helping restore the runs.Murray sent a letter on Tuesday to Senate and House leaders criticizing Newhouse’s bill that supports existing dam operations.The letter, also signed by Democratic U.S. Reps. Adam Smith and Pramila Jayapal, contends Newhouse’s bill would circumvent a process to consider all uses of the river system. Managers must consider salmon recovery, fisheries, irrigation, navigation, power generation, flood protection and recreation, they said.
The Surface Transportation Board (STB), the federal entity with regulatory oversight over the rail industry, issued a new directive this week requiring BNSF Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway to provide detailed reports on their plans to eliminate backlogs of grain shipments, and to submit weekly reports until the problem is resolved. Previously, the STB required BNSF and CP to submit reports on their spring deliveries of chemical fertilizers to farmers, mostly in the upper Midwest and Great Plains but as far south as Texas. These directives follow a STB hearing earlier this year at which ASA testified.Rail service along the northern tier has experienced significant backlogs and service problems resulting from explosive growth in oil and gas shipments, bumper crops of corn and soybeans and severe winter weather conditions that stressed the rail delivery network.Going forward, one concern for farmers and grain shippers is that the industry is now facing the start of wheat harvests, which can draw off some grain hoppers this summer, and that corn and bean shippers could be scrambling for enough cars and locomotives right up to the next fall harvests. This concern is reflected in the STB notice, which states, “Although the data submitted by both railroads indicates some initial progress toward reducing their grain car order backlogs and grain car delays, the Board remains very concerned about the limited time period until the next harvest, the large quantities of grain yet to be moved, and the railroads’ paths toward meeting their respective commitments. For these reasons, pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 721(b), the Board will direct CP to provide its plan, and BNSF to provide an updated plan, by June 27, 2014, to reduce their respective backlog of unfilled grain car orders and resolve grain car delays (for CP, on its United States network) including their timeline for doing so.”Click here to read the full STB notice.
Rest In Peace Carmen Schentrup ❤️ @Schentrump, your family is forever in my thoughts and prayers. I’m so sorry.— Pranati (@pranatiishah) February 15, 2018___Helena Ramsay, 17Helena Ramsay was soft-spoken, but also smart and a go-getter, her cousin Sefena Cooper said Thursday.The 17-year-old junior especially loved hanging out with friends and family, “and for this to happen is heartbreaking,” Cooper said.“Although somewhat reserved, she had a relentless motivation towards her academic studies and her soft warm demeanor brought the best out in all who knew her,” another relative, Curtis Page Jr., wrote on Facebook.Helena Ramsey, 17, was killed by the gunman. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/gcCoPyBKwz— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Alexander Schachter, 14Trombone and baritone player Alexander Schachter was a “sweetheart of a kid,” according to a social media post by father Max Schachter.In honor of his 14-year-old freshman son, Schachter wrote on a gofundme page that he was starting a scholarship fund “to help other students experience the joys of music as well as fund increased security at schools.”The message said: “Please help keep Alex’s spirit alive.”Alex Schachter, 14, was a freshman trombone player in the Stoneman Douglas marching band. He was proud of his school’s state championship win earlier this year. Schachter’s father described him as a “sweetheart of a kid.” https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/bGZksn2kOS— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Cara Loughran, 14Cara Loughran, 14, was an excellent student who loved the beach and her cousins, according to her family.An aunt, Lindsay Fontana, wrote on Facebook: “I had to tell my 8-year-old daughters that their sweet cousin Cara was killed in the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School yesterday. We are absolutely gutted.”“While your thoughts are appreciated, I beg you to DO SOMETHING,” she wrote. “This should not have happened to our niece Cara and it cannot happen to other people’s families.”Loughran’s neighbor posted a picture of her cheering on a young boy riding a bike with training wheels.“RIP Cara,” Danny Vogel wrote, “and fly with the angels. You will be greatly missed, and we will always love you and celebrate your beautiful life.”Cara Loughran’s neighbor took to Facebook after the tragedy to remember the slain teen. “You will be greatly missed, and we will always love and celebrate your beautiful life,” she wrote. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/LG4wcJfSJ4— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018 Alyssa Alhadeff, a 15-year-old freshman soccer player, was confirmed dead Thursday afternoon. “To Alyssa’s friends, honor Alyssa by doing something fabulous in your life,” her family said in a statement. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/4TkaKulYZc— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Alaina Petty, 14Fourteen-year-old Alaina Petty was among those who died in the shooting, great-aunt Claudette McMahon Joshi confirmed in a Facebook post.“There are no hastags for moments like this, only sadness,” she wrote, asking people to lift up Petty’s family in prayer.Petty attended a local Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Petty was a “valiant young member of the Coral Springs Ward,” Church leader Stephen E. Thompson wrote in an update.14-year-old Alaina Petty was killed by the gunman. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/juw1d3JMYD— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Scott Beigel, 35Students said geography teacher Scott Beigel, 35, helped them enter a locked classroom to avoid the gunman and paid for the brave act with his life.“If the shooter would have come into the room, I probably wouldn’t be speaking to you now,” student Kelsey Friend told Good Morning America.Friend said when she heard gunshots and realized it wasn’t a drill she followed other students toward the classroom.Beigel “unlocked the door and let us in,” she said. “I thought he was behind me, but he wasn’t. When he opened the door he had to relock it so we could stay safe, but he didn’t get a chance to.”Student Bruna Oliveda said she saw Beigel blocking the door.“I don’t know how we’re alive,” she said.This photo of geography teacher Scott Beigel was posted on Facebook by Camp Starlight, where Beigel had been a counselor. #DouglasHighSchoolhttps://t.co/DwbtMp8MsV pic.twitter.com/PPjB3PKM1C— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 15, 2018___Jaime Guttenberg, 14Ninth grader Jaime Guttenberg, 14, loved to dance and hoped to become an occupational therapist and mother, aunt Abbie Youkilis said.“She always looked out for the underdog and the bullied and she probably had been kind to the (former) student who shot her,” Youkilis said in a written statement sent to The Associated Press.Guttenberg leaves her parents, Fred and Jennifer Guttenberg, and brother Jesse. Her father said in a Facebook post that he is “trying to figure out how my family gets through this.”Youkilis called for gun-control legislation, saying Jaime’s parents were “the world’s most loving and over-protective parents but they could not protect Jaime from the sickness that has gripped our country.”Jaime Guttenberg was remembered as “the most beautiful, kind-hearted, driven, funny and sweet girl” in a touching tribute from her cousin. Her brother Jesse made it out of the school safely. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/v8lZpmhlyV— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Martin Duque Anguiano, 14Shooting victim Martin Duque was one of Isaac Briones’ best friends.“He was like, one of the nicest people I knew,” said Briones, 15. “He was so caring.”Briones said he last saw Martin the day of the shooting during first period.“We were just playing around, talking about jokes and stuff,” said Isaac, who was outside the school Thursday with others holding a group of white balloons for the victims.On Instagram, Miguel Duque wrote that words can’t describe the pain of losing his brother. He added: “I love brother Martin you’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place. Duques forever man I love you junior!!! R.I.P Martin Duque!”Martin Duque, a 14-year-old freshman, died in the shooting. “Words can not describe my pain,” his older brother Miguel wrote on Thursday. “I love brother Martin. You’ll be missed buddy. I know you’re in a better place.” https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/FtTNNcu8HP— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Gina Montalto, 14Shooting victim Gina Montalto was a 14-year-old freshman who participated on the winter color guard squad at the school.Friends and relatives posted tributes on Facebook, including mother Jennifer Montalto.“She was a smart, loving, caring, and strong girl who brightened any room she entered. She will be missed by our family for all eternity,” said the post.One of Montalto’s color guard instructors from middle school, Manuel Miranda, told the Miami Herald that Montalto was “the sweetest soul ever.”“She was kind, caring always smiling and wanting to help,” Miranda said.Freshman Gina Montalto, 14, died from her injuries late Wednesday night. She was a member of the school’s winter guard team, which was slated to perform at a regional event in Tampa over the weekend. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/1Wi7UNsG1t— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Nicholas Dworet, 17Nicholas Dworet had committed to swim for the University of Indianapolis.The college announced Thursday that the senior was among those killed in the mass shooting at his high school.In a statement, UIndy swimming coach Jason Hite called Dworet an “energetic and very vibrant kind” who cheered for his soon-to-be university during a swimming meet last month.“I spoke with his mom this morning, and she reiterated the fact that he was really looking forward to this next step in his life and becoming a Hound,” said Hite. “He really felt like he had a family in the team, and was really excited about what we’re doing up here.”Nicholas Dworet had been recruited to swim at the University of Indianapolis. #DouglasHighSchool pic.twitter.com/ra8VqRel60— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 15, 2018 One of yesterday’s victims, Nicholas Dworet, was a senior who just received a swimming scholarship to the University of Indianapolis. My niece was friends with him since kindergarten and posted her memories this morning. Such a heartbreaking loss and sickeningly avoidable traged pic.twitter.com/m3EEHjKjOe— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 15, 2018___Peter Wang, 15Peter Wang, a 15-year-old ROTC student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, wasn’t interested in status but wanted to help others, relatives said.A cousin, Aaron Chen, told the Miami Herald that Wang was last seen holding a door open so others could get away from the gunman.Friends and relatives first thought Wang was just missing and checked with area hospitals. They later found out he had been killed.“He wasn’t supposed to die,” Chen told First Coast News.Peter Wang, 15, was killed by the gunman. “He wasn’t supposded to die. He was supposed to grow old with me. Please share his story,” Aaron Chen, Wang’s cousin, said. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/yq579TeP7y— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Luke Hoyer, 15Fifteen-year-old Luke Hoyer was a loving, sweet person who loved basketball and “smiled all the time,” his aunt Joan Cox said.“He was just a good kid … very loving and just enjoyed life,” said Cox, of Greenville, South Carolina.She said Luke’s parents, Gena and Tom Hoyer, searched for their son at hospitals before finally going to the law enforcement command center, where they eventually learned he had died.“It’s just a terrible thing,” said Cox, who said the family — including Luke’s older sister Abby and brother Jake — spent Christmas with her and other family in South Carolina. “We just all pretty much can’t get over it.”Luke Hoyer was reported missing in the immediate aftermath of the #Parkland attack. Hoyer’s grandfather said they were watching the news when he and his wife realized the shooting had occurred at their youngest grandson’s school. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb pic.twitter.com/CrpGFMUKvj— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Carmen Schentrup, 16Carmen Schentrup was a smart girl with a sweet smile.In September, she was named one of 53 National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalists in the county and a classmate tweeted “we all praised for her intelligence.”Cousin Matt Brandow posted on Facebook that the 16-year-old visited Washington State recently and said she wanted to go to the University of Washington. He asked: you like the rain?“She answers, I hate sweating in the humid Florida weather,” Brandow wrote. “That’s when I knew you were perfect for Washington.”Carmen Schentrup: A 16-year-old student. She was a 2017 National Merit Scholar semifinalist. #ParklandSchoolShooting https://t.co/unuUQC9nOa pic.twitter.com/Gb1OWfD2Vr— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) February 15, 2018 AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeAnxious family members wait for news of students as two people embrace, February 14th, 2018, in Parkland, Fla. A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School sent students rushing into the streets as SWAT team members swarmed in and locked down the building. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)When a gunman opened fire with an AR-15 at a large high school in south Florida, the 17 dead included students and school workers, young and old.#MediaAlert: Download the probable cause affidavit, timeline of events and names of the deceased from the February 14, 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School by clicking on the link: https://t.co/43K81RNa4v— Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) February 15, 2018Here is a look at the 17 confirmed dead by authorities in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School:Aaron Feis, 37It is with Great sadness that our Football Family has learned about the death of Aaron Feis. He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories pic.twitter.com/O181FvuHl3— MS Douglas Football (@MSDEagles) February 15, 2018Assistant football coach Aaron Feis was shot to death while selflessly shielding students from bullets. A tweet from the school football program ended: “He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories.”Feis graduated from the school in 1999 and worked mainly with the junior varsity, the team website said. It said he lived in nearby Coral Springs with his wife and daughter.The team website said Feis spent his entire coaching career at Marjory Stoneman after playing there as a student.The Sun Sentinel reported that Feis, acting as a school security guard, responded to the original call on a school walkie-talkie. Someone on the radio asked if loud sounds they heard were firecrackers, said football coach Willis May, who also carries a radio.“I heard Aaron say, ‘No, that is not firecrackers.’ That’s the last I heard of him,” May said.___Joaquin Oliver, 17Joaquin Oliver was known by his nickname “Guac,” short for “guacamole,” because many couldn’t pronounce his first name.“My friend will literally never get to say, ‘I graduated high school,’” said Tyra Hemans, a 19-year-old who said she has been friends with Oliver since they were freshmen.Hemans said she last saw her friend at school the day of the shooting.“It was just a brief ‘Happy Valentines,’” she said. “He was with his girlfriend and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, you guys are so cute.”She added, “He’s just a goofball. He’s the only kid you’d know that would dye his hair bleach blond, walk around school, put some tiger stripes in and just be unique. He was a unique soul.”Joaquin Oliver died in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Tyra Hermans said she’d been friends with Oliver since her freshman year and saw her pal for the last time before the shooting began Wednesday. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb #Parkland pic.twitter.com/EhWHuv37tC— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Christopher Hixon, 49A married father of two and the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Chris Hixon wasn’t shy about jumping in wherever he was needed, said friend and one-time colleague Dianne Sanzari.Hixon was a member of a Roman Catholic church in Hollywood. The Archdiocese of Miami confirmed his death Thursday.When a volleyball team needed a fill-in coach, Hixon took over; the same thing happened with the wrestling team, Sanzari said. And when the school needed someone to patrol the campus and monitor threats as a security specialist, Hixon did that, too.It was in that security role that Hixon apparently came within range of the shooter.School athletic director Chris Hixon, 49, was a Naval Reservist. #DouglasHighSchool pic.twitter.com/QiIrrD40eb— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 15, 2018___Meadow Pollack, 18Meadow Pollack’s parents called her phone repeatedly only to hear it ring, as they kept an anxious vigil outside the hospital. But on Thursday, her father, Andrew Pollack, confirmed that his daughter was among the dead, the Palm Beach Post reported.Eighteen-year-old Pollack, a senior, had planned to attend Lynn University, her father said.“Her life was taken way too soon and I have no words to describe how this feels,” friend Gii Lovito posted on Facebook.Family friend Adam Schachtel said in a Facebook post that “an angel was taken away from us in that horrific tragedy … no words can be said so just prayers and sadness.”Meadow Pollack was missing in the immediate aftermath of the #Parkland attack. Her father, Andrew Pollack, confirmed his daughter’s death Thursday morning. https://t.co/tRC5x8tGVb pic.twitter.com/rfivYz2gWQ— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) February 15, 2018___Alyssa Alhadeff, 14An amateur soccer club said one of its players, Alyssa Alhadeff, was among the students killed in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.Parkland Soccer Club posted on its Facebook page that Alhadeff was a “loved and well respected member of our club and community.”The club posted a note it said was from her family which read: “To Alyssa’s Friends honor Alyssa by doing something fabulous in your life. Don’t ever give up and inspire for greatness. Live for Alyssa! Be her voice and breathe for her. Alyssa loved you all forever!” Share
Listen at WEAA Live Stream: http://amber.streamguys.com.4020/live.m3uA special two-hour version of The World Famous Happy Hour, celebrating Hip Hop and the anniversary of The Hip Hop Chronicles, presented by veteran Hip Hop producer and DJ, Mike “Mike Nyce” Middleton.These stories and much more on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes, Monday through Friday, 5-7 p.m.
There are some people who earn a pretty good living by analyzing the video game industry. Then there are just average Joes who spend countless hours crunching the numbers and creating infographics just for the heck of it. Often it’s the latter that manages to really impress us.Case in point — Reddit user NcikVGG, who combed through a huge database of 24,000 video games and charted out exactly how gaming tastes have changed over the years. The charts go back to 1975 and provide a fascinating look at how the industry has evolved.Among the observations that can be gleamed are that platform games had their heyday in the early 1990s and have been tapering off ever since. Filling that void until the early 2000s was partly role-playing games (RPGs), but those have also declined in the most recent years.And, notably thanks to the rise in casual gaming platforms like smartphones and tablets, the genres that have seen the biggest increases in the last few years are exactly what you would expect — puzzle games and “action” games.Perhaps the neatest part of the chart is the “arcade” game genre, which of course accounted for the majority of games back in 1975 but has shrunk to just a fraction of the industry. Since 2005, though, there has been a comeback, most likely because of things like the Wii’s Virtual Console and the re-release of arcade games on mobile platforms.Of course, the chart takes into account the number of games. If it were revenue or some other metric, it would be a very different chart. This is perhaps a better look at the industry as a whole, though. It is like a snapshot of the entire lifetime of the industry.As if that wasn’t enough NcikVGG also created a similar chart based on game platform, which shows — in one very concise graphic — which consoles stood the test of time and which ones (like the Dreamcast) faded quickly. Any video game fan really should check out these charts. Full-size versions are available in the via link below:via Reddit
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Diana Walker—Contour by Getty Images for TIME Hillary checks her messages upon departure from Malta for the as-yet-undisclosed location,S. By Philip Elmer-DeWitt OpenSignal Android devices come in all shapes and sizes and may run any one of more than a half-dozen active versions of Googles GOOG -0. Ranieri, researchers have presented a theory that people from the "Near East" (now the Middle East) began moving into Africa about 3,S. Zoltan Balogh—EPA An Afghan wades to the shore after arriving in an overloaded rubber dinghy on the coast near Skala Sikaminias, “They have been handed over to us on and when we interrogated them, According to Ayade, An earlier wave of emigration saw many professionals leave by plane to Miami or Madrid with their savings intact But increasingly impoverished Venezuelans are fleeing by bus or on foot to neighbouring Colombia and Brazil as well as Argentina Chile and Peru where they often take https://wwwreuterscom/investigates/special-report/venezuela-bus low-paid jobs as waiters construction workers or drivers Ignacio Avalos one of the directors of the Venezuelan Electoral Observatory an independent local election monitoring group estimates that less than 10 percent of Venezuelans abroad are registered to vote Authorities did not respond to questions about how many overseas voters are registered Authorities said earlier this year that more than 100000 Venezuelans were registered to vote abroad In a report this month the Observatory cited numerous obstacles hindering Venezuelans overseas from voting including short opening hours at consulates long backlogs and arbitrary conditions not demanded by law "Without a doubt this is the hardest time to be voting from abroad" Avalos said Maduro did order in February the reopening of Venezuela’s consulate in Miami saying that he wanted the local Venezuelan community to able to enroll to vote Chavez had shuttered the consulate in 2012 just before his final presidential election The consulate did not respond to a request for information about whether it had reopened Two of the Venezuelans Reuters spoke to said they had no trouble registering to vote from abroad although both did the process well before this electoral cycle In Madrid several Venezuelans interviewed said the electoral register did not allow them to change their old addresses and that appointments at the embassy were near impossible to get "No-one goes in there not even God" said Vanessa Pineda the head of a Spain-based Venezuelan opposition group The embassy did not respond to an emailed request for information "THOUSANDS OF HURDLES" Maduro often disparages Venezuelans abroad accusing them of being part of a "squalid" right-wing plot vying to discredit his brand of "21st century socialism" He has mocked emigres for working in low-paying jobs "You don’t know how many of them are washing toilets in Miami Would you wash toilets in Miami Would you leave our beloved country" Maduro said last month during a speech in the central state of Lara "I would never leave" he added A minority of Venezuelan opposition figures think it is a mistake not to fight Maduro at the polls as that almost certainly hands him a fresh six-year term "This could be our last chance to halt the crisis that keeps catapulting more and more Venezuelans into exile" said lawyer Victor Sulbaran 28 who in January emigrated to the US state of Georgia A long-time activist for opposition candidate Falcon Sulbaran was determined to cast a ballot But when in March he travelled to the Venezuelan consulate in New York he was asked to submit a utilities bill proving that he resides in the United States He eventually produced one but was then told internal systems were down It was only on his third attempt this month that consular officials told him he was successfully registered – but he has yet to receive a formal notification of a change of residency "They put down thousands of hurdles so that you can’t change your residency" said Sulbaran who is still unsure whether he will be able to vote for Falcon on Sunday The Venezuelan consulate in New York responded that "requirements have always been the same And all those who are registered must exercise the right to vote" One former engineer at Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA who asked not to be identified to avoid repercussions for his family back home said he missed the deadline to change his voting centre after he emigrated to Colombia last month But the former mid-level manager – who now works at a used cars and motorbikes store – said he had no interest in voting During past elections in Venezuela he received text messages and calls from PDVSA pressuring him to vote for the government a common experience for state employees "The government has taken control of all institutions and controls the electoral council so I don’t think it makes any difference whether we vote or not" said the former manager who now earns 28 times what he did back home in dollar terms "I’m carving out a new path for myself starting again from the bottom to climb up slowly and I want to leave Venezuela in the past" (Reporting by Alexandra Ulmer in Caracas Angus Berwick in Madrid and Mitra Taj in Lima additional reporting by Leon Wietfeld in Caracas Zachary Fagenson in Miami and Fabian Cambero in Santiago; Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Rosalba O’Brien) This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed Chick-fil-A may generate a lot of political controversy but when it comes to customer satisfaction the restaurant can’t be beat The chain earned a higher satisfaction score than any other fast food restaurant according to a new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index Overall customer satisfaction at fast food restaurants declined in 2015 according to report The report explained the change as a result of customers thinking more about food quality than price as the US moves further away from the recent economic recession As part because of this trend the more upscale Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread followed close behind Chick-fil-A in the rankings “As the economy improves consumers with more disposable incomebut squeezed for timewant higher-quality ingredients freshness and better service at a reasonable price” the report says “They also are willing to pay a bit more” Many old school fast food restaurantsBurger King Taco Bell and Jack in the Boxrank near the bottom of the list But the last-place spot is reserved for McDonald’s which has performed notoriously poorly in recent years Write to Justin Worland at justinworland@timecom8 million state employees to vote for his government.
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